Former Republican State Senator Emory Melton, attorney, historian, author, father and friend passed away at the age of 92 in the early morning on Saturday, December 26, 2015, in his home.
A 24-year veteran of the Missouri State Senate, Emory was a well-known and respected member of the Barry County community who will be deeply missed. His wisdom, stories and legacy will live on for decades to come for the people who knew and loved him.
Emory Melton was born in McDowell, Barry County, on June 20, 1923. He was a life-long resident of Barry County and served his community in countless ways over the years. Emory had two siblings, Amy and Bill, and grew up with his father heavily involved in the political realm of Barry County. His father served on the county commission as well as being elected its presiding judge. By the time he was seven, Emory decided he wanted to be a politician, and after getting the advice that politicians are usually lawyers, he decided that was what he was going to be.
Emory attended school at a variety of one-room schoolhouses before going on to Verona High School where he graduated in 1940. Emory's work ethic was seen through his drive to finish his education, first high school, and then he went on to college. He worked his way through college at Monett Jr. College and Southwest Missouri State in Springfield. During his college time in Springfield, he delivered newspapers daily, morning and evening editions. After college, Emory hitchhiked his way to Columbia where he was admitted into the University of Missouri's law school. Sweeping floors, working the hospital's kitchen and sleeping in boiler rooms were part of Emory's journey to graduate with his law degree, which he did in December 1944. There were only two graduates that year, Emory Melton and Quentin Haden from Ava, Missouri. Then, in 1945, he was drafted into the United States Army. After completing basic training at Camp Robinson in Arkansas, he was sent to Texas where he went to the criminal investigation school. Emory took part in conducting investigations near Tokyo on everything from murder to espionage until he was discharged in 1946. After serving in the military, Emory moved back to Barry County where he married his wife, Jean Sanders Melton on June 19, 1949, in Shell Knob, Missouri. Together, Emory and Jean had two sons, Stanley and Russell. They also began two businesses: Litho Printers and the Barry County Advertiser, both of which are still in operation over fifty years later. Emory was also an ownership partner in the Barry County Abstract Company and former owner of the Cassville Republican newspaper. The Meltons were married for 60 years before her death in March 2010.
Emory practiced law in Barry County throughout his career. He became well known and respected as an attorney, but also as a historian and friend to many. From 1947 to 1951 Emory served as the Barry County Prosecuting Attorney. From 1973 to January 1997, Emory served as the Missouri State Senator for the 29th District. During his time at the Capitol, he became known for his diligence to his position and the citizens he represented. While the pieces of legislation he sponsored during that time were few, he was well known for reading all bills considered by the Missouri Senate. The bills Emory did introduce were always for the public good and bypassed traditional partisan politics. While Emory was a well-respected attorney, politician and businessman, his love of history, particularly Barry County's history, was evidenced through all of the years he spent researching and recording county history. His hand penned two books, "The First 150 Years in Cassville, Missouri" and "Hanged by the Neck Until Dead." For decades, Emory was the go-to man for anything pertaining to the history of Barry County. It was a commonly accepted fact that Emory had forgotten more history than most of us would ever know. That love of history spilled over into his skill as a storyteller. Anyone having a meeting with Emory knew to plan to be there at least twice as long to sit and hear him tell stories full of facts, wit and humor. His stories would grace the ears of anyone willing to listen, being better for the experience and laughter shared.
Emory was a member of the First Baptist Church in Cassville, Lions Club of Cassville, a Masons member and many other civic and state organizations. He was a life-long member and leader in the Republican party of Barry County and the State of Missouri.
Emory was preceded in death by his wife, Jean, brother, Bill, sister, Amy, and son, Russell. He is survived by his son, Stanley Melton, and Stan's wife, Cindy, of Fremont Hills, south of Springfield, and step-grandsons, Taylor and Nelson Paul Sparks.
Visitation will be held on Monday, December 28, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Cassville. Services will be held on Tuesday, December 29, at 2 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Cassville under the direction of Fohn Funeral Home with Rev. Leland May presiding. The Bob Cantwell Gospel group will provide music and eulogies will be presented by Don Cupps and Judge Robert S. Wiley.
Contributions may be made to Barry County Museum, The Historical Society or Russ Melton Scholarship Fund in memory of Emory.
Visit www.fohnfuneralhome.com for online obituaries, guestbook and private condolences
FOHN FUNERAL HOME